Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Stephanie Kegan's "Golden State"

Stephanie Kegan is the author of Golden State, recently named by People Magazine as one of “The Best New Books” and Entertainment Weekly as one of “The Top 10 Things We Love This Week.”

Kegan's thoughts on her book as a movie:
Because a girl can dream, here is who I’d like to cast in the film of my novel Golden State:

The protagonist and narrator of my novel is Natalie Askedalh, a 48-year old wife, mother and third teacher. A tall red-head, Natalie leads an ordinary suburban life until she turns on the news one night and sees her brother arrested by the FBI for being a terrorist mastermind. Okay, this role is easy is to cast—my actress is redheaded, the right age and just won the academy award. In my dream, Julianne Moore plays Natalie.

Natalie’s husband Eric is an attorney and former college football player. He’s a quiet, steady man who doesn’t want his wife involved in trying to help her brother. I’m going to give the part to Alec Baldwin for his shot at the Oscar.

When she was young, Natalie adored her gentle, brilliant older brother. But Bobby changed when he grew up, withdrawing into himself, and eventually disappearing from her life. When he returns to her life, it is as a man accused of a string of terrorist bombings. The part would have to be played by an actor who can be convincing as someone who is brilliant, both kind and lethal, rational seeming and insane. I think Edward Norton would be perfect.

Natalie’s mother graduated first in her class from Berkeley. She is a committed idealist, slender and well-dressed, aloof, proud, and when it comes to her son, delusional. I would love to see Jane Fonda in the part.

Natalie’s describes her caustic older sister, Sara, as “an aging hippie on her plot of land miles from anywhere, rewashing her plastic baggies.” The two, who don’t much like each other, are thrown together in an effort to save their brother’s life. The part goes to (drum roll) Frances McDormand.
Visit Stephanie Kegan's website.

The Page 69 Test: Golden State.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Skip Horack's "The Other Joseph"

Skip Horack is the author of The Other Joseph, as well as two previous books: the novel The Eden Hunter, which was a 2010 New York Times Editors’ Choice; and the story collection The Southern Cross, winner of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference 2008 Bakeless Fiction Prize.

Here he shares some thoughts about adapting The Other Joseph for the big screen:
The main character of my novel The Other Joseph is a nine-fingered, 29-year-old, Gulf of Mexico oil rig worker named Roy Joseph, and though I’d of course love to see him brought to life in a movie someday, I can’t claim have had a particular actor in mind while creating him. For one, I don’t suppose there are too many nine-fingered Southern sorts in Hollywood . . . and most twenty-something actors are still playing high school kids on the screen. So there’s that too.

But then—just the other day, actually—someone pointed out certain similarities between the plot of my novel and that of the 1970 Jack Nicholson film Five Easy Pieces. A movie I’d never seen, or somehow even heard of, but which I’m told is: (a) great and (b) opens, like The Other Joseph with its hero working in an oil patch—albeit a California one—and then, as in my fictional narrative as well, follows him on a road trip that ends on the shores of the Pacific.

And though I’m sure most of the similarities between my novel and that movie end there, while I wait to track down a copy of Five Easy Pieces I’ve been enjoying watching the trailer on YouTube. This is Nicholson in his early thirties, looking like an “actual” person, making movies at the beginning of, in my opinion, that most realistic and gritty of film decades. All of which is another way of saying that when I think of inspirations for Roy Joseph I still think mainly of real people.
Visit Skip Horack's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Stacey Lee's "Under a Painted Sky"

Stacey Lee is a fourth-generation Chinese American. A Southern California native, she graduated from UCLA and got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall. Now she plays classical piano, wrangles children, and writes young adult fiction.

Under a Painted Sky is her first novel.

Here Lee dreamcasts an adaptation of the novel:
Sammy: Katie Leung. Katie is known for her first role as Harry Potter's first girlfriend. She has a sweet aura about her. I would love to see her play tough.

Annamae: Zoe Saldana. I love her no-nonsense vibe.

West: Liam Hemsworth. He does dark and brooding well.

Cay: Ryan Philippe. Golden boy down to the blond curls. Perfect.

Peety: Diego Luna. He's good at sensitive and he's funny.

Directed by: Ang Lee, of course! He's Chinese and won an Oscar for directing the western Brokeback Mountain.
Visit Stacey Lee's website.

Writers Read: Stacey Lee.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Jeannette de Beauvoir's "Asylum"

Jeannette de Beauvoir is a novelist, poet, and playwright whose work has appeared in 15 countries and has been translated into 12 languages.

She explores personal and moral questions through different literary genres and is the author, under various pseudonyms, of mystery novels, historical and contemporary fiction, an award-winning book of poetry, and a number of produced plays, as well as teaching workshops and classes in writing.

Here de Beauvoir dreamcasts an adaptation of her  new novel, Asylum:
This is really difficult, as I don't work with visuals much, at least in terms of people. (I do it far more with places: in this series, for example, it's important to me to give readers a real sense of the neighborhoods and ambiance of Montréal.) I guess I'd be drawn to a Diane Lane sort of actor: someone who comes across as fairly ordinary but finds resources inside herself that she didn't know about. The same could be said for Kristin Scott Thomas. And I realize that in mentioning both those names I'm rather dating myself! Okay: if Michelle Dockery could manage a French-Canadian accent, I could see that working. I write plays as well as novels, and have always been pleasantly surprised by what directors and actors do with my words, often taking them places I didn't think of going, and giving the story a perspective that I never saw when writing it. So were Asylum be made into a movie (and wouldn't that be lovely?), I think that rather than impose my take on who should be in it, or how it should be directed, I'd let it become whatever a talented cast and crew saw in it. After all, I wrote the novel, I've already had my say!
Visit Jeannette de Beauvoir's website.

Writers Read: Jeannette de Beauvoir.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Rhiannon Thomas's "A Wicked Thing"

Rhiannon Thomas is an English Lit grad from Princeton University. She currently lives in York, England, in the shadow of a 13th century Gothic cathedral. When she isn’t lost in YA fantasy, she writes about feminism and the media on her blog, Feminist Fiction.

Here Thomas dreamcasts an adaptation of A Wicked Thing, her debut novel:
I've tried many, many times to cast the role of Aurora in an imaginary movie of A Wicked Thing, and every time, the "fun game" becomes an exercise in frustration. I don't know enough young actresses, and no star ever seems to completely match the image I have in my head.

This time I've finally cracked it. I want Eliza Taylor in the role. I really think she could add depth to the role of the lost, beautiful princess and show the toughness that Aurora hides underneath. And when Aurora gets more self-assured and willing to fight, Eliza Taylor would nail that switch. She's got the perfect mix of vulnerability and strength.

Queen Iris, meanwhile, would be perfectly played by Indira Varma, and Celestine, the witch who cursed Aurora, has to be played by the ethereal Natalie Dormer.
Visit Rhiannon Thomas's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Wicked Thing.

Writers Read: Rhiannon Thomas.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

David S. Heidler & Jeanne T. Heidler's "Washington’s Circle"

David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler have collaborated on books about the early American republic, the Antebellum period, and the Civil War, including Encyclopedia of the War of 1812 and the award-winning Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Social, Political, and Military History, which received the Society for Military History’s Distinguished Book Award. They are the authors of Henry Clay: The Essential American; Old Hickory’s War: Andrew Jackson and the Quest for Empire; The War of 1812; Manifest Destiny; Daily Life in the Early American Republic: Creating a New Nation, 1790-1820; and The Mexican War.

Jeanne Heidler is Professor of History at the United States Air Force Academy where she is the senior civilian member of her department.

Here the Heidler's dreamcast an adaptation of their new book, Washington’s Circle: The Creation of the President:
Portraying the characters in Washington’s Circle: The Creation of the President would be a formidable challenge for the most talented cast. The wide ranges within the epic span of the story would require something more than mere physical resemblance to the people. The problem is laid bare in many films that transform such characters into Olympian caricatures or, just as bad, try so hard to avoid lionization that they produce a caricature of ordinariness. The people of Washington’s Circle were not flawless godheads, but neither were they undistinguished Everymen. They were extraordinary people who did extraordinary things, but the trick of portraying history and playing the makers of it is to convey the sense of uncertainty, surprise, hope, and anxiety that marks the human condition among all people, regardless of their talent or circumstance.

This is especially so for Washington, whose iconic image has frozen him in the public mind as forever old and inscrutable. Perhaps Liam Neeson would have the physical presence and somber authority as well as Washington’s stoic impassivity that made him quietly charismatic.
Robert Downey Jr. matches Alexander Hamilton’s height, coloring, and intensity. Tom Hiddleston is perfectly suited for Thomas Jefferson in both form and figure. Moreover, Hiddleston could leaven Jefferson with the whimsy that was as much a part of Jefferson’s personality as his intellect but sadly and seldom shows up in portrayals of him. Daniel Radcliffe’s size and manner would make him a good James Madison, and Michael Keaton has with age developed features that could approximate those of John Adams, especially his eyes. Keaton also could provide the nervous energy that made Adams both endearing and exasperating to friends and foes alike. Martin Freeman rather looks like Washington’s indispensable secretary Tobias Lear, and he would be able to depict Lear’s modesty, competence, and devotion to Washington and his family.

As for the family, Blair Brown’s ability to convey strength with sweetness recommends her for Martha Washington. Eleanor Parke Custis, always called Nelly, would require several actors to portray her from age 11 to 18, but the adult Nelly’s charm and beauty could be well represented by Bella Thorne, with the appropriate coloring. The great Brock Peters has passed away, but his bearing and commanding presence would have perfectly captured the proud Hercules, Washington’s cook who responded to the indignity of menial labor at Mount Vernon by escaping from slavery, never to be found. The quiet dignity and gentle goodness of William Lee, Washington’s principal manservant for many years, could be movingly portrayed by Cuba Gooding, Jr.

It is a partial list, of course, and merely a start, because as we point out in our introduction to the book, the mere fact of George Washington’s existence in such a pivotal time of world shaping events makes the story of the people around him an epic that would dwarf the power of the most sterling depictions. As Shakespeare noted in the prologue to the exploits of Henry V, one would need more than a talented cast armed with a grand script and under solid direction. A muse of fire would possibly suffice. Possibly.
Learn more about the book and author at David S. and Jeanne T. Heidler's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 23, 2015

Diane Thomas's "In Wilderness"

Diane Thomas is the author of the psychological thriller In Wilderness and The Year the Music Changed: The Letters of Achsa McEachern-Isaacs and Elvis Presley. She was once the film reviewer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Here Thomas dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, In Wilderness:
In 1966, Katherine Reid, a successful professional woman dying of a mysterious wasting disease, retreats to an isolated cabin in a southern Appalachian wilderness to live out her last days. Also in the forest is Danny, a 20-year-old former reconnaissance sniper and washout from the Vietnam War with what today would be recognized as PTSD. He stalks her obsessively from the moment she arrives and eventually makes his presence known. The two begin an erotic relationship that threatens them both.

In my film of In Wilderness, either Julianne Moore or Reese Witherspoon would play Katherine. It’s a role with a lot of range. I’m not sure I would have considered Witherspoon before Wild. Her brilliant against-type portrayal of a woman who goes so totally out of control is what won me. For Katherine’s early patrician aspects, Moore or Witherspoon might channel Old Hollywood, say Kathryn Grayson or Jennifer Jones.

There’s one hurdle for Witherspoon: She would need dark hair to contrast with Danny’s anemic, southern Cracker blondness—his scraggly little beard and tangled, greasy hair. Possibly brilliant, he had one scholarship year of university education before the war and dreamed of becoming a lawyer. Now he is wiry and feral, devoid of all hope. And out of his obsession for Katherine, he is dangerous. This is a role that could make an unknown actor’s career. He would need the scary unpredictability of an early (Easy Rider) Dennis Hopper, the ratty twitchiness of a young Kiefer Sutherland, the focused intensity and tortured tenderness of Bradley Cooper in American Sniper. Ideally, he would also have Matthew McConaughey’s skinny muscularity and his wry and mildly threatening southern drawl.

In Wilderness will of course be an independent film: No car chases, just outstanding acting. And superlative direction. For a long time I didn’t think my novel could be made into a movie. Then I saw Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan while I was still working on it, and my opinion changed. Aronofsky showed a bent toward the surrealism that presages madness, which is what a film version of In Wilderness requires. But after Swan he veered off into fantasy; I was saddened to lose him. My attention next turned to Kathryn Bigelow after I saw The Hurt Locker. She was so good with war, surely she could plumb Danny’s soul. And probably Katherine’s, too. Plus, as a Santa Fean she’s homefolks.

Then last year, volunteering with the Santa Fe Film Festival, I was privileged to interview producer Michael Fitzgerald, there to present his newest film, Closer to the Moon. Though mentored by director John Huston, Fitzgerald does not himself direct, but remains actively involved from start to finish in all aspects of his films. He turned out a wonderful version of Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood for his first screen endeavor. (She had lived with his family for a time in London, when Fitzgerald was a boy.) Huston directed it. I saw the film not long before beginning work on my first version of In Wilderness in 1980. There’s a lot of Hazel Motes in Danny.

Okay, what do I want to see on the publicity posters for In Wilderness? How about “Produced by Michael Fitzgerald, starring Reese Witherspoon/Julianne Moore and Dennis Hopper/Kiefer Sutherland/Matthew McConaughey/Bradley Cooper, and directed by John Huston/Darren Aronofsky/Kathryn Bigelow”?

That’s it. So what if Hopper, Sutherland, McConaughey, and Cooper are too old and Huston’s dead? There’s still Witherspoon and Moore. And I can dream, can’t I?
Visit Diane Thomas's website.

Writers Read: Diane Thomas.

The Page 69 Test: In Wilderness.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Robert Glinski's "The Friendship of Criminals"

Robert Glinski is a graduate of Washington University and Temple University School of Law. He was an attorney in Philadelphia and New Jersey for a decade before transitioning to investment advising. With two writing pieces recently optioned in Hollywood, he now spends his time crafting his next novel and finishing his first screenplay.

Here Glinksi dreamcasts an adaptation of The Friendship of Criminals, his first novel:
What crime fiction writer doesn’t dream of his or her characters hitting the big screen? Most of my all-time favorite films are novel adaptations so the evolution from page to projector has always struck me as a worthy and natural artistic progression, e.g., The French Connection, Goodfellas, Marathon Man, The Godfather, Jackie Brown, Mystic River, The Town, and Out of Sight.

I was lucky enough to option film/TV rights before publishing rights so this has been an actual discussion point we’ve mulled over with producers. One of my novel’s principal characters – a hustler named Sonny – is James Caan because Caan is the spitting image of the character’s real-life inspiration in terms of accent, mannerisms, bravado, and background. Sonny needs an actor who the audience believes can earn $100 million and spend $105 million with the same emotional trajectory. That’s Caan.

The protagonist – Anton Bielakowski, an old-school Polish mobster who stays true to his neighborhood – is either Harvey Keitel (ala his shaved head prisoner cameo in The Grand Budapest Hotel) or one of my favorite character actors – Armin Mueller-Stahl. Both have the chops and stones to carry a role that says a whole lot with a shut mouth.

For Anton’s son Marcek, we need a good-looking hood, a guy with a twinkle in his eye who knows first-hand all the book’s neighborhoods and street corners. Hello, Philly’s own Bradley Cooper. Marcek’s girlfriend Angie Spina – probably the novel’s most intelligent character - is Rooney Mara because Jennifer Lawrence is too obvious and no one is entitled to the perfect cast.
Visit Robert Glinski's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Friendship of Criminals.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 20, 2015

Cindy Callaghan's "Lost in Paris"

Cindy Callaghan grew up in New Jersey and attended college at the University of Southern California before earning her BA in English and French, and MBA from the University of Delaware.

She is the author of Just Add Magic (2010), Lost in London (2013), Lucky Me (2014), Lost in Paris (2015), and Lost in Rome (2015).

Here Callaghan dreamcasts an adaptation of Lost in Paris:
My first book Just Add Magic is being made into Amazon Original TV series. I just adore the girls that are cast in that show. I would love to have all of them star in the Lost in Paris movie. And, or course, all of the tweens in my hometown!

There is a band in the book. I would love for One Direction to play those parts. We’ll all have to travel to Paris, probably on a private plane. And we’ll all stay together in a hotel that is just like the quaint Hotel de Paris in the novel.

For the adult male Etienne, obviously Mark Wahlberg, and I would play Gwen’s mom. The movie will be a huge success, which will lead to a request for Mark and I to co-host SNL.

In Lost in Paris, there are many animals. I’d like to work with a local Parisienne rescue society to help us with casting the pets. Hopefully this will result in the homeless animals to find families.
Visit Cindy Callaghan's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Writers Read: Cindy Callaghan.

The Page 69 Test: Lost in Paris.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Diane Kelly's "Death, Taxes, and Cheap Sunglasses"

A former Assistant Attorney General and tax advisor, Diane Kelly inadvertently worked with white-collar criminals. Lest she end up in jail, Kelly decided self-employment was a good idea. Her fingers hit the keyboard and thus began her award-winning Death and Taxes romantic mystery series. A graduate of her hometown's Citizen Police Academy, she also writes the hilarious K-9 cop Paw Enforcement series.

Here Kelly dreamcasts an adaptation of Death, Taxes, and Cheap Sunglasses:
Death, Taxes, and Cheap Sunglasses is a humorous story in which investigators from the IRS Criminal Investigations Division go after people committing various forms of tax evasion. The main targets in this book are members of a violent drug cartel and people operating so-called charities but who are actually using the nonprofits as a shady way to cheat Uncle Sam.

The primary character is IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway. While Tara is small, standing only five-feet-two inches, she makes up for her lack of stature with determination, smarts, and more than a little sass. I could see several people in this role. Amy Adams would be a great choice for this role. She’s the perfect combination of wide-eyed innocence and beauty, but accessibility, too. I’ve enjoyed all of her movies, but especially liked her in American Hustle. Emma Stone comes immediately to mind, too. I loved her in Zombieland. I could also see Emily Blunt playing Tara. I loved the bad-ass role she played in Edge of Tomorrow.

Nick Pratt is Tara’s boyfriend and a fellow special agent. A former linebacker on his high school football team, Nick is physically formidable. But he’s no dumb jock. He’s got a clever mind and shares Tara’s determination to see that justice is served. I’d love to see David Walton in this role. He plays cocky characters well, and is definitely attractive while still maintaining a down-to-earth type of charm. I love him in the TV series About a Boy.

DEA Agent Christina Marquez is a feisty Latina-American woman who is built like Barbie but, like Tara, is a force to be reckoned with. I could see Salma Hayek or Jessica Alba playing Christina.

The main bad guy in this book is a drug lord known as El Cuchillo, or the Knife. I could see Danny Trejo, better known as Machete, in this role, or Willem Dafoe, who does villains so well.

There’s a pair of kooky redneck cousins in this books, with beards that would rival those of Duck Dynasty. I see Zach Galifiankis and Russell Brand in these roles.
Visit Diane Kelly's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Coffee with a Canine: Diane Kelly & Reggie, Junior, and Brownie.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Gail Carriger's "Prudence"

New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger writes to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. Carriger then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She resides in the Colonies, surrounded by fantastic shoes, where she insists on tea imported from London. Her books are published in over a dozen different languages. Carriger has received the Prix Julia Verlanger and the Elbakin Award from French readers.

Here Carriger dreamcasts an adaptation of Prudence, the first book in the Custard Protocol series:
Rue: Jessica Brown Findlay

Best known for her tragic role as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby, I chose Jessica Brown Findlay mainly because she can (obviously) do the right upper crust accent for Rue. Also I think she would have fun with a more upbeat cheerful role. Rue is often described as round and jolly and while this actress is skinny (aren't they all?), she does have a sweet round expressive face which I think could do well for my main character.

Primrose: Felicity Jones

Primrose is Rue's best friend and main confidant. Rue and Prim look a little alike, in fact they use this in their schemes, often pretending to be the rich and feckless "Hisselpenny sisters." Occasionally, they will even switch names when visiting those who don't know them by sight (most do know them by reputation). Primrose is more reserved and interested in manners and organization than Rue. I'm thinking of Felicity's portrayal of the sister in Hysteria (Emily Dalrymple) when casting Primrose.

Frankly, given the skill of both the above actresses, I could also see Felicity play Rue and Jessica play Primrose.

Percy: Simon Woods

I know Simon Woods from Cranford and I was thinking of him as the physical model as I wrote Percy. I don't know if he is an natural redhead but he looks good as one. I think he could play the part of stuck up bookish weirdly irresistible Percy beautifully. Also, I bet Tom Felton could also do a great job.


Quesnel is French, raised in England, but bilingual and educated in France. I want a really boyish cheerful clownish feel for him, but also an actor able to show strong emotion and sex appeal. Quesnel is at least ten years older than the three other main characters, so he could be played by an actor in his 30s. When I describe him in the books, I was thinking someone like Alex Pettyfer (possibly too pretty?) crossed with young Leonardo DiCaprio. So I basically ended up with Freddie Stroma. But can he put a tiny hint of French into his accent? That's the question. If not, one wonders: how good is Vincent Lecoeur's English?
Learn more about the book and author at Gail Carriger's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Prudence.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Andrew Klavan's "Werewolf Cop"

Award winning author, screenwriter and media commentator Andrew Klavan is the author of such internationally bestselling novels as True Crime, filmed by Clint Eastwood, and Don’t Say A Word, filmed starring Michael Douglas. Klavan has been nominated for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award five times and has won twice.

Here Klavan dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Werewolf Cop:
I put so much effort into not thinking about my novels as movies that it always takes me aback when someone asks me to cast them. Here’s the problem. Americans love the movies — less now than maybe a generation ago, but Americans still think of movies as the be-all and end-all of storytelling. When someone really likes one of my novels, almost the first thing he’ll say is, “This would make a great movie!” As if the book weren’t enough. And when my novels actually have been made into films, people have congratulated me as if now, at last, my story had reached fruition.

Me, I’m a novel guy. I’d much rather read a great novel than see a great film. So I actually feel when I’ve written a good book, I’ve done something pretty special. If someone makes it into a movie, swell. If not, not.

All the same, the attention — and money — that come along with a film are so huge that the temptation to write novels with an eye toward the screen can be pretty powerful at times. And it’s a mistake. I’ve written movies and I’ve written novels and the structures are very different. If you write a novel too cinematically you’re actually short-changing your reader. You’re leaving out the inner observations, the digressions, the depth of understanding that only a novel can really supply. All of which is to say, the question of who should “star” in my novel never occurs to me while I’m writing. And if it did occur to me, I would suppress it!

But of course now that you ask — and since the actual writing of Werewolf Cop is done — let me see... Timothy Olyphant would do an excellent job as the cursed Texas lawman Zach Adams. He plays a somewhat similar role on the TV show Justified, one of my favorite crime shows ever. Christoph Waltz could do nice work as the evil uber-gangster Dominic Abend, and would make a change from the usual British villain. Either Mark or Donnie Wahlberg would make a good Broadway Joe Goulart, the NYPD Detective who may or may not have gone bad. Mireille Enos always gets cast as the wifely wife — but then she’s really good at it, and Grace Adams, Zach’s wife, is just about the wifliest wife ever: a Proverbs 31 woman, as Zach calls her, after the passage in the Bible describing the perfect woman. Which means the femme fatale in his life, Margo, has to be irresistible. How about Alexandra Daddario: she’s the lady who did that nude scene in HBO’s True Detective that made many men who watched it spontaneously combust. That’s the sort of thing the part needs, though she’d also have a couple of great acting scenes.

So that’s my cast. But I’ll be plenty happy if Werewolf Cop is just read and appreciated as the novel it is.
Visit Andrew Klavan's website.

Writers Read: Andrew Klavan.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 16, 2015

Keija Parssinen's "The Unraveling of Mercy Louis"

Keija Parssinen attended Princeton University, where she studied English literature and received a certificate from the Program for the Study of Women and Gender. She earned her MFA at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote fellow, a Teaching and Writing fellow, and the student editor for the Iowa Short Fiction contest. After finishing the program, she won a Michener-Copernicus award for her debut novel, The Ruins of Us, which was published in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Italy and around the Middle East. The novel was long-listed for the 2012 Chautauqua Prize.

Here Parssinen dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Unraveling of Mercy Louis:
There’s something eerie and cinematic about the bayou, which is perhaps why so many movies and TV shows take it as a setting. HBO alone could keep the Louisiana film industry in business, with True Detective, True Blood, and Treme. My second novel, The Unraveling of Mercy Louis, is set in a Southeast Texas refinery town near the Louisiana border, so it shares a swampy atmosphere with those excellent and deeply weird shows. The story charts the downfall of the town’s golden girl, basketball star Mercy, after a harrowing discovery leaves the town reeling and ignites a witch hunt. I would love to see Mercy Louis adapted for the big or small screen, and here is my dream cast:

Mercy Louis: Rooney Mara would make an outstanding Mercy. Loved her in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, where she proved that she possesses the athleticism and badassery to play Mercy. Yet Mara’s also capable of balancing vulnerability alongside her toughness, a key trait in Mercy. And of course there’s the jet black hair. She’s the total package!

Illa Stark: Wallflower Illa dreams of befriending Mercy and watches her from afar. Emma Watson would do a great job. She’s smart, feminist, and waif-­‐like. It’s hard to imagine Watson capable of playing a wallflower (she was of course the opposite of that in Perks of Being a Wallflower!), but with her acting chops, combined with no make-­up and some ill-fitting clothes, I think she’d make an outstanding Illa.

Maw Maw: Mercy’s strict evangelical grandmother is physically frail yet emotionally hard, and she rules Mercy’s circumscribed world. I vote for Sissy Spacek. Stephen King’s Carrie reverberates through Mercy Louis, and it would be interesting to see Spacek play the controlling fundamentalist this time around, as opposed to the innocent pushed to the brink as she does in the 1976 movie adaptation of King’s novel.

Charmaine Boudreaux: Mercy’s mysterious mother abandoned her at birth, but she resurfaces at the start of the novel and plays an important role in the story. I’d vote for either Connie Britton or Kim Dickens, who both earned Texas cred in Friday Night Lights, and who do that drawl so well.

Annie Putnam: Mercy’s best friend, an intelligent, hard-­edged girl who uses sex to compensate for a loveless home life. The Jennifer Lawrence of American Hustle would be perfect—sexy, manipulative, terrifying and tragic.

Beau Putnam: Annie’s ruthless, politically ambitious father would be well-‐played by Matthew McConaughey, because no one does Texas sleeze quite like him. He’d have to gain weight and wear some platform shoes (Beau was a former linebacker for Texas A&M), but those are superficial details. McConaughey is the man for the job!
Visit Keija Parssinen's website.

Writers Read: Keija Parssinen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Thomas Fleming's "The Great Divide"

Thomas Fleming is a distinguished historian and the author of more than fifty books. A frequent guest on PBS, C-SPAN, and the History Channel, Fleming has contributed articles to American Heritage, MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, and many other magazines. He lives in New York City.

His new book is The Great Divide: The Conflict between Washington and Jefferson that Defined a Nation.

Here Fleming highlights an episode from American history ripe for adaptation to the big screen:
I never visualized a movie that would encompass this whole book. But I saw a good movie in one part of the story. The Whiskey Rebellion would dramatize the first attempt by Americans to secede from the Union. “Democratic Societies” modeled on the radical Jacobin Clubs of Paris have been denouncing President Washington’s administration for months. With Thomas Jefferson’s encouragement, newspapers have been echoing this attempt to launch a French style revolution -- a war against the rich. The Societies encouraged the 70,000 pioneers in western Pennsylvania to attack federal tax collectors and persuade westerners in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina to join them in forming a separate country. A rabble-rouser named David Bradford has great potential as a central character. Wearing the uniform of a major general, he tells a huge crowd outside Pittsburgh that the British in Canada are eager to give them money and guns. As for “Old Man Washington,” he was too comfortable in his mansion in Philadelphia to do anything about it.

President Washington’s response makes the Old Man Washington epithet the misnomer of the decade.... He summons 13,000 men from nearby states and asks them – and the rest of the country – to join him in smashing this threat to the American Union. He personally leads the army in its march west. The response is overwhelming. The proto-rebellion collapses in a few days. Bradford and the men around him flee west. At his mansion in Virginia, an unhappy ex-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson sneers that the president went to all this trouble to discover a revolt but “never found one.”
Visit Thomas Fleming's website.

Writers Read: Thomas Fleming.

The Page 99 Test: The Great Divide.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Eileen Cook's "Remember"

Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in eight different languages. Her books have been optioned for film and TV. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer.

Here Cook dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, Remember:
I am horrid at this game because what I want to do is cast actors that I want to meet versus who may be best in the role. So while freely admitting I’m being biased, if Remember were made into a movie I would cast Benedict Cumberbatch as the father. He plays complicated characters well so I think he’d be perfect. I also desperately want to meet him.

For the main roles I would choose Josh Hutcherson to play Josh (total coincidence that they have the same first name, but it should make it easy for Josh to remember what part he’s playing) as he has the all American good guy kind of looks that would work well. Alex Pettyfer (from I Am Number Four) has a bit of the bad boy image that would go with Neil’s character, as the competing love interest. From the Hunger Games, I would choose Amandla Stenberg (Rue) as she has both the grace and strength that the character Win as Harper’s best friend requires and last, but not least, for the main character Harper I would choose Lily Collins from City of Bones.
Visit Eileen Cook's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Year of Mistaken Discoveries.

Coffee with a Canine: Eileen Cook & Cairo.

The Page 69 Test: Remember.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 13, 2015

Stacey Ballis's "Recipe for Disaster"

Stacey Ballis is the author of several foodie novels, including: Inappropriate Men, Sleeping Over, Room for Improvement, The Spinster Sisters, Good Enough to Eat, Off the Menu, Out to Lunch, and Recipe for Disaster. She is also a contributing author to three nonfiction anthologies: Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume, and Living Jewishly.

Here Ballis dreamcasts an adaptation of Recipe for Disaster:
I’m always casting my books in my head! If Recipe for Disaster were to be made into a movie, first and foremost I would want Tina Fey to work with me on the screenplay and since John Hughes is not available, I’d love Amy Heckerling to direct!

I think Melissa McCarthy would be my dream girl for Anneke (or pretty much any heroine in any book I’ve ever written)! I would cast Nathan Fillion for Liam, since he is gorgeous and tall, and Dev Patel is a natural for Jag.

The three best girlfriends would be Judy Greer for Hedy, Joan Allen for Caroline, and Katherine Hahn for Marie.

Idris Elba as Jacob. And I would love to see Emma Stone as Emily, I think she would nail it!

It would have to be filmed in Chicago, without a doubt, and I would have every other role in the movie cast with amazing local Chicago actors. I’d have Mara Blumenfeld do the costumes, if I could tear her away from costuming every theater production on the planet. And maybe a tiny cameo for myself somewhere.
Visit Stacey Ballis's website.

Writers Read: Stacey Ballis.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Brian Freeman's "Season of Fear"

Brian Freeman is the bestselling author of nine psychological thrillers, including Spilled Blood, which won the award for Best Hardcover Novel in the International Thriller Writers Awards.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of his latest novel, Season of Fear:
Readers have debated for years about who would star in a film or TV adaptation of my Jonathan Stride series. Russell Crowe? Kyle MacLachlan? As soon as I throw out a name, I get ten names back from readers with other ideas.

With my latest novel Season of Fear, we can start a new debate: Who should play Cab Bolton?

Cab may be an even tougher call than Stride. As the son of a Hollywood actress, Cab needs some star power on the screen. He’s charming and funny, and he has a distinctive look, too: six-foot-six, spiky blond hair, ski slope nose, diamond earring. When I envisioned Cab in my head, I saw him as something like a young Peter O’Toole.

But who would play him today?

There aren’t many stars with the sky-high stature of Cab Bolton. On the other hand, acting is all about attitude, and that’s what it takes to capture Cab. He’s the kind of hero who takes the world seriously — but himself not at all. He’s smart, and he doesn’t mind being underestimated by people who don’t think he looks like a cop. He always has a twinkle in his eye.

Ryan Gosling? He’s got that playful little smile and the intelligent eyes. I think he could fill Cab’s size 13 shoes.

Or — to really go out on a limb — what about Neil Patrick Harris? He’s immediately ingratiating, and so is Cab, and he’s got that nudge-nudge, wink-wink expression that says we should all relax and enjoy the ride.

Again, just like Cab.

So those are my ideas...now you can read Season of Fear and give me yours.
Learn more about the books and author at Brian Freeman's official website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Stripped.

My Book, The Movie: Spilled Blood.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

David Joy's "Where All Light Tends to Go"

David Joy is the author of the novels Where All Light Tends to Go (Putnam, 2015) and Waiting On The End Of The World (Putnam, 2016), as well as the memoir Growing Gills: A Fly Fisherman's Journey (Bright Mountain Books, 2011), which was a finalist for the Reed Environmental Writing Award and the Ragan Old North State Award for Creative Nonfiction.

Here Joy dreamcasts an adaptation of Where All Light Tends to Go:
I don’t spend a whole lot of time watching television or film, but if Where All Light Tends To Go were made into a movie I’d want David Burris to direct it. That much is simple. I look at what he did with Ron Rash’s The World Made Straight and the budget he did it with and I’m in awe. I was scared going into that film because that’s my favorite novel Ron has ever written, but it’s quite literally the book on screen. That’s flat out the best film adaptation I’ve ever seen. I think the adaptation of Winter’s Bone would be a close second, but for my money I’d go with Burris.

With the casting of the characters I think I would have more trouble.

The only character in Where All Light Tends To Go that was always very clear to me if I entertained the thought of a film adaptation was Jacob’s father, Charlie McNeely. I always saw Charlie being played by Kim Coates. I think Kim always plays a really good bad guy, though a lot of times there seems to be an unspoken complexity to the roles he plays. That dark hair and those haunting eyes, that’s definitely Charlie all over. We’d just have to teach him an Appalachian accent.

As far as Jacob, this wouldn’t really work anymore because he’s grown, but I see someone like Lucas Black. I loved Lucas in films like the The War. So often people who try to play Southerners get it wrong, but he’s always been so authentic. He does a really fine job of playing a character carrying a tremendous weight. Lucas just has a way of conveying that inherent sadness that would be so important to capture with a character like Jacob McNeely.

Dale Dickey would do a really fine job of playing Jacob’s mother. She’s another one that I almost feel as strongly about as Kim Coates playing Charlie. A lot of times Dale seems to be typecast as an addict, but I think she does a really great job of conveying that with honesty on the screen. Her role on Breaking Bad, though small, was actually one of my favorite characters on that show. If anyone could pull off Jacob’s mother it would be her.

Maggie Jennings would be a really hard character to cast. We’d need to find someone young with loads of screen presence, as Maggie is really the only source of hope in the novel. Not that Jennifer Lawrence would work, but I envision someone with the power she had in a film like Winter’s Bone. That raw, unrefined type of performance was absolutely beautiful, and I think it would be important to find someone with that type of presence.

There’s a reason I chose the novel. I’m a one trick pony for sure. The idea of film just eludes me. That being said, I think this story would be intense on the screen. But if I could have any input at all I’d want to be in control of the soundtrack, and more particularly the very last song to play. As the camera panned away from the final scene, I’d want to hear Gillian Welch’s “Not Afraid To Die.” I’d want to look around the theatre and see people sitting dumbstruck in their seats, unmoving, their eyes glassed over with tears. I want that story to break people’s hearts.
Visit David Joy's website.

Writers Read: David Joy.

The Page 69 Test: Where All Light Tends to Go.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Meg Donohue's "Dog Crazy"

Meg Donohue is the USA Today bestselling author of How to Eat a Cupcake and All the Summer Girls. She has an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and a BA in comparative literature from Dartmouth College. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she now lives in San Francisco with her husband, three young daughters, and Cole the dog.

Here Donohue dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Dog Crazy:
I didn't have certain actors in mind as I wrote Dog Crazy, and actually I hardly describe the physical attributes of the main character, Maggie, at all, so that role is really open to any actress in her late twenties to late thirties. Since dogs are major characters in the book, the dog actors are nearly as important as the human actors, and I hope Hollywood would be able to get those parts right! For the fun of it, I recently made a Pinterest board of images from and inspired by Dog Crazy, and I came up with a few casting ideas. I picked Margot Robbie for Maggie because I think she's a strong actress who could carry a movie, and I suspect she would be funny and empathetic in the role. I also think she could have great chemistry with James Marsden, who would be my pick for Maggie's love interest, Henry. I think Chloë Grace Moretz could be wonderful as troubled teen Anya. And Rosario Dawson would play Maggie's best friend and landlady, Lourdes, with humor and warmth. I'm looking forward to hearing what others think about these casting ideas after they read Dog Crazy!
Visit Meg Donohue's website and blog.

Coffee with a Canine: Meg Donohue & Cole.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 9, 2015

Gail Bowen's "12 Rose Street"

Gail Bowen's first Joanne Kilbourn mystery, Deadly Appearances (1990), was nominated for the W.H. Smith/Books in Canada Best First Novel Award, and A Colder Kind of Death (1995) won the Arthur Ellis Award for best crime novel. In 2008 Reader's Digest named Bowen Canada's Best Mystery Novelist; in 2009 she received the Derrick Murdoch Award from the Crime Writers of Canada. Bowen has also written plays that have been produced across Canada and on CBC Radio.

Here Bowen dreamcasts an adaptation of the latest Joanne Kilbourn mystery, 12 Rose Street:
The first six books in the Joanne Kilbourn Shreve series are already made-for-TV movies. They were filmed about ten years ago by Shaftesbury Films, a Canadian production company that has gone onto great success. My books were Shaftesbury's first venture into television, so Christina Jennings, Shaftesbury's CEO, and I took those first baby steps together, and we remain friends -- not always the case in the movie industry.

The Joanne Kilbourn movies continue to pop up on television here, there and everywhere, and people still seem to enjoy them Because the series has continued -- 12 Rose Street is the 15th book in the series and #16 is already at my editors -- the movies continue to seem current to viewers.

The movies were distributed internationally and although I did not write the movie scripts, some very progressive countries continue to send me cheques because I was the source writer.

Wendy Crewson, a Canadian actor played Joanne in the movies and because Joanne ages in the course of the books and Wendy, like all of us, has aged in real life, I would be content to have her reprise the role of Joanne. Victor Garber, also a Canadian, had a role in the first two movies, but it was not a role that existed in the books, so if I had a chance, I'd like to write him a role he could really get his teeth into.

I was asked to write the scripts for the first movies, but I felt that I really wasn't up to the task. I don't regret that decision. I don't believe I really was ready to write for film, but now, in addition to the novels, I write for theatre, so I'd like to take a crack at bringing Joanne et al on screen.
Visit Gail Bowen's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Becky Wallace's "The Storyspinner"

In second grade, Becky Wallace had to sit in the corner because she refused to write anything except princess stories and fairy tales (and because she talked too much). Her time in isolation gave her plenty of opportunities to dream up the fantasy worlds she’s been dabbling with ever since.

Here Wallace dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, The Storyspinner:
If I was going to cast The Storyspinner from the very greatest actors and actresses of all time, I’d choose:

Vivien Leigh for Johanna. She’s a perfect physical fit (petite, brown hair, pale eyes), but she has an innate sarcasm about her delivery. Johanna uses snarkiness as a defense mechanism, and is fiercely protective of her family. I think the closest modern day equivalent would be Sarah Hyland from Modern Family.

A young Daniel Sunjata as Rafi: He’s a good match for the tall, lean Duke-to-be, but he also does well in roles were he has to show both action skill and vulnerability. It’s an extra bonus that he’s easy on the eyes.

Jessie J as Pira: I have no idea if the singer has a shred of acting talent, but she’s the person I pinned to my pinterest board when I wrote The Storyspinner. The height, the shaved head, the incredible bone structure is perfect for my angsty warrior.
Visit Becky Wallace's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 6, 2015

Asali Solomon's "Disgruntled"

Asali Solomon is an assistant professor of English at Haverford College. Get Down, her first book, earned her a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, was chosen as one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” for 2007, and was a finalist for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award.

Here Solomon dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Disgruntled:
The reason I love the hypothetical movie Disgruntled is because it has extremely plum roles for African American actors, and I’m hoping the studio will go with one of the wide array of talented Black directors. I cannot decide between them though – Ava DuVernay, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Dee Rees would all be amazing. Or Ernest Dickerson. My friend Jason Moran could do the score.

The trickiest role to cast, also the most important one, is Kenya Curtis, who begins the book as a seven year-old, and ends it in her late teens. I really can’t cast that seven year-old role. That’s an open call. Of course, there’s Quvenzhané Wallis, who I think is a wonderful actor, but I want someone who seems sadder. So my suggestion for older Kenya is someone who has probably aged out: Camille Winbush, who used to be the older sister on The Bernie Mac Show, would be awesome.

There are some other people, who I think have aged out of where I want them, like Raven Goodwin, who would have been great for Amandla about ten years ago.

Back to the principals. I thought a lot about Sheila, because again, there are some actresses who are absolutely ideal, but the age thing is tricky. Khandi Alexander, who was amazing on Treme has the Sheila “it.” Niecey Nash, who is so wonderful on Getting On on HBO has it. But by the time we get the financing and script for this movie, it might have to be Danai Gurira, who plays Michonne on The Walking Dead. She’s beautiful and probably has a great death stare. She’d have to read the scene where Johnbrown makes his sketchy proposition to Sheila and Sheila rebuffs. That will take a kind of down-and-dirty energy that I haven’t seen her give yet. But wait, I totally forgot Regina King! I love me some Regina King. It’s yours, Regina King.

It occurs to me that I’m casting my film entirely with actors mainly associated with television. But I think that says something dire about access to film roles for Black actors, rather than about my casting desires.

So more TV: Teddy Jaffrey is clearly Mike Colter, who plays Lemond Bishop on The Good Wife. All shiny surfaces. One thing though, in his audition, he’ll have to show that he can play somebody not together at all. (On a sidenote, I have been meaning to lobby CBS to give Lemond Bishop a spinoff show called Bishop. People will have almost forgotten that this will be a slight ripoff of The Wire, as Bishop is a slight ripoff of Stringer Bell, but it will be a show about very successful drug dealer trying to catapult his son into the Kennedy post-boot-legging class, get rich and get out of the game before it catches up to him.)

Cindalou can be offered to Carmen Ejogo, who was so lovely in Selma. She’ll have to gain some weight, though, and look less like a movie star in general, so that the early scenes are not so overdetermined. Sharon can be played by Charlize Theron. She needs to act very American though.

Lonette McKee can play Grandmama. And as a sidenote, can I say that if you’re researching this kind of thing, there is actually a web page called “Best Light Skin Celebrities.” (The Internet is scary).

I don’t quite know how to handle the butler and his wife. Perhaps the butler should be played by the same person who plays Johnbrown.

Johnbrown, oh, Johnbrown. Jeffrey Wright ten years ago. Anthony Mackie right now. Michael B. Jordan – ten years from now. This person probably has the hardest role in the movie. But this budget is small. He’ll have to do it for love.
Learn more about Disgruntled, and visit Asali Solomon's faculty webpage.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Benjamin N. Lawrance's "Amistad’s Orphans"

Benjamin N. Lawrance is the Hon. Barber B. Conable Jr. Endowed Chair in International Studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of his new book, Amistad's Orphans: An Atlantic Story of Children, Slavery, and Smuggling:
In Amistad’s Orphans there are six main characters, and all are children of various ages. There are several prominent adult supporting roles, but the key casting issue is finding dynamic and charismatic child actors.

The three girl roles are strikingly different, and require unique actresses. I would love to see Quvenzhané Wallis play the role of Te’me, because of her exceptional skills as demonstrated in Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012). Te’me is captured and enslaved as a young child, and during a custody battle in a court in Connecticut she makes a break for freedom, running across the New Haven green, before being tackled by a white male abolitionist. This would be a pivotal scene in the film.

For the roles of Marg’ru (the eldest of the three girls), and Kag’ne, I’d cast Josephine Lawrence and Skai Jackson. These two shared the common experience of being pawned by their father for debts he owed, which he failed to redeem, and ultimately it resulted in them being sold into slavery, and put aboard a slave ship for Cuba. They very likely came from the same village in the Mende-speaking part of Moa River valley in Sierra Leone. Though not sisters, these two girls develop compelling personal relationships with people that protect them, and watch over them. They were captivating in The Watsons Go To Birmingham (2013).

For two of the male leads, Covey and Ka’le, I’d cast Tyrel Jackson Williams and Tyren Jacob Williams. Although the boys were not brothers in real life, they became brotherly over the course of several years in bondage. They shared a common experience of abduction and enslavement, and upon return to Africa, they lived in a shared missionary compound and continued to have great influence over each other. Covey plays a leading role and translator throughout the trials. And Ka’le becomes the primary intermediary between the adult Africans in prison, and the abolitionist community. He learns to read and write English and writes an important letter to President John Quincy Adams. Casting brothers would play to this important dimension.

For the third male lead, Antonio, I would cast an exciting Latino actor, perhaps Rico Rodriguez from ABC’s Modern Family. Antonio is likely originally from West Africa, and speaks several Sierra Leonean languages, but he’s been in Cuba for many years by the time of the Amistad rebellion. Also, there is some doubt about his ancestry; like many Africans on the coast, he may have had a Spanish-Cuban or Brazilian-Portuguese father. Many slave traders lived on and off on the coast, and the mixed race communities were very heavily involved in the trade. These children also ended up as slaves, but Antonio may have been bought by a ship’s captain and served as a cabin boy, and never experienced enslavement in the hull of a ship in the classic sense of the Middle Passage. One of Antonio’s most poignant scenes is where the guardian, Mrs. Pendleton, whips him for not polishing her children’s shoes.

There are any number of highly talented actors for the supporting adult roles, such as the slave revolt leader, Cinque (Sing-Pieh), abolitionist Lewis Tappan, President John Quincy Adams, missionary Raymond Williams, and so forth.
Learn more about Amistad's Orphans at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Amistad's Orphans.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tom Santopietro's "The Sound of Music Story"

Tom Santopietro is the author of The Importance of Being Barbra, Considering Doris Day (a New York Times Editor’s Choice), Sinatra in Hollywood, and The Godfather Effect: Changing Hollywood, America, and Me. He has worked for the past twenty years in New York theater as a manager of more than two dozen Broadway shows.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of his new book, The Sound of Music Story: How A Beguiling Young Novice, A Handsome Austrian Captain, and Ten Singing Von Trapp Children Inspired the Most Beloved Film of All Time:
Since my book The Sound of Music Story concerns the making of The Sound of Music, the opportunity to cast other actors to portray Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker, and Robert Wise seems like a lot of fun--- a great hall of mirrors project. So:

Julie Andrews: Keira Knightley or Carey Mulligan

Christopher Plummer: Benedict Cumberbatch

Eleanor Parker: Cate Blanchett

Peggy Wood: Marion Cotillard (because I think she can play any role, any time, anywhere, so I’d have to have her in the movie; for me she’s the most versatile actress working in films today)

Director Robert Wise: Tom Wilkinson

Screenwriter Ernest Lehman: Martin Freeman

Studio head Richard Zanuck: Bob Odenkirk

The 7 von Trapp Children: Any children who have never appeared on reality television, never watched reality television, and don’t care about reality television. Seven non-show biz children.

The real Maria von Trapp- who makes a cameo appearance during “I Have Confidence”: Tyne Daly

I’d really like to hear what ideas other people have…
Learn more about the book and author at Tom Santopietro's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Godfather Effect.

Writers Read: Tom Santopietro.

The Page 99 Test: The Sound of Music Story.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 2, 2015

Cara Black's "Murder on the Champ de Mars"

Cara Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 15 books in the Private Investigator Aimée Leduc series, which is set in Paris. Murder on the Champ de Mars is the latest installment. Black has received multiple nominations for the Anthony and Macavity Awards, a Washington Post Book World Book of the Year citation, the Médaille de la Ville de Paris—the Paris City Medal, which is awarded in recognition of contribution to international culture—and invitations to be the Guest of Honor at conferences such as the Paris Polar Crime Festival and Left Coast Crime. With more than 400,000 books in print, the Aimée Leduc series has been translated into German, Norwegian, Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian, and Hebrew.

Here Black shares her candidate to direct an adaptation of the new novel:
If they make my book into a film, here's who I'd like to play to direct the the movie: Sir Carol Reed. He directed The Third Man, and brought Graham Greene to Vienna and told him to write a screenplay with post war Vienna as a character. Greene did that in spades, the dark glistening cobbled streets at night, the sewers, the black market, all so evocative. I’ve read in interviews that Sir Carol Reed asked the characters to play their scenes in real locations and worked from those. He even gave free reign to Orson Welles who came up with the infamous line about the cuckoo clocks. It was in my mind when I wrote Murder on the Champs de Mars, how Sir Carol would direct on the dark Parisian streets, the sparkling Eiffel Tower almost shrouded by mist and the trees, and how he’d portray this part of Paris as a character.
Learn more about the book and author at Cara Black's website.

The Page 69 Test: Murder at the Lanterne Rouge.

My Book, the Movie: Murder at the Lanterne Rouge.

The Page 69 Test: Murder below Montparnasse.

The Page 69 Test: Murder in Pigalle.

My Book, The Movie: Murder in Pigalle.

--Marshal Zeringue